Colonial America Was a Wild and Difficult Place to Be
Colonial America Was a Wild and Difficult Place to Be

Colonial America Was a Wild and Difficult Place to Be

Khalid Elhassan - October 27, 2021

Colonial America Was a Wild and Difficult Place to Be
A 1780 French map of West Point. Wikimedia

An Infamous Turncoat

Crippled by his wounds at Saratoga, Benedict Arnold was put in charge of Philadelphia. There, he began to socialize with families loyal to the British. He also took to an extravagant life with lavish expenditures, which he financed with questionable methods that led to scandal. Arnold also married a much younger woman of loyalist sympathies and spendthrift habits, that soon drove him into deep indebtedness. Between resentments and financial difficulties, he secretly approached the British to offer his services. Arnold was well positioned to deal the Patriots a fatal blow, because he was placed in charge of colonial fortifications at West Point on the Hudson River, that lay upstream from British-occupied New York City and barred them from sailing upriver.

Arnold plotted to sell plans of the fortifications to the enemy, and contrived to deliver them into British hands for £20,000. However, his British contact was captured, along with documents that incriminated Arnold. He fled just in time to evade arrest. He was made a brigadier general in the British Army, and led soldiers against the Patriots for the rest of the war. The British never fully warmed to him however, and he was unable to secure a regular commission after the war. He pursued a variety of ventures, including privateering and land speculation in Canada, before he finally settled down in London, where he died in 1801.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Argus Leader, November 17th, 2016 – Beer Played an Important Part in Pilgrim Life

Arnold, Isaac Newton – The Life of Benedict Arnold: His Patriotism and His Treason (1880)

Baltimore Sun, March 25th, 2005 – English Civil War Led to Battle on Severn

Business Insider, November 21st, 2018 – The Pilgrims Landed on Plymouth Rock For More Beer

Chernow, Ron – Washington: A Life (2010)

Clarke, R.J. – Impostress: The Dishonest Adventures of Sarah Wilson (2019)

Cracked – The Charleston Tea Parties: The Dumber Cousins to Boston’s Tea Party

Demos, John Putnam – Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (1982)

Dictionary of National Biography – Rainborow, Thomas

Encyclopedia Britannica – Benedict Arnold

Encyclopedia Britannica – William Kidd

Fischer, David Hackett – Washington’s Crossing (2004)

History Collection – 16 Surprising Facts About Colonial America’s Mail Order Brides of Jamestown

Levack, Brian P. – The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America (2013)

New York Times, July 3rd, 2010 – America’s Revolution: The Prequel

Straight Dope – Did The Pilgrims Land on Plymouth Rock Because They Ran Out of Beer?

Teaching American History in South Carolina Project – Charleston Tea Party

Tyler, John W. – Smugglers and Patriots: Boston Merchants and the Advent of the American Revolution (2019)

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law – Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692

Wikipedia – Boston Tea Party

Wikipedia – Salem Witch Trials

Wikipedia – Sarah Wilson (Imposter)

Zacks, Richard – Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd (2002)